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Dinner at Blackbird - 9/22/2011

zin1953 | Sep 25, 2011 09:34 PM

And so Lynn and I were joined by our friend Virginia, she from the southern portion of that state we call "home." As a result, we ended up at Blackbird . . .

You see, we originally planned to eat at the Girl and the Goat, but they couldn't accommodate increasing our reservation from two people to three, and so we had to cancel our dinner there -- trading in Stephanie Izard for Paul Kahan. (Sorry, Stephanie - next trip!) Now, keep in mind that Lynn and I had dined at Kahan's newest restaurant, Publican, the night before, and we enjoyed that so much, the bar was pretty high . . . as was the concern that it might not have met our expectations.

Instead, I should have remembered the motto of one Alfred E. Newman: "What, me worry?"

In other words, dinner was GREAT!

We met Ginny at the restaurant . . . sort of. We were about half an hour early for dinner, and went next door to Kahan's *other* restaurant, Avec, for a glass of wine and to catch up -- after all, we hadn't seen Ginny since last week's conference in Vegas. At 9:00 pm exactly (7:00 for us Californians), our table was ready and we were seated . . .

BTW, the waitress at Avec told us to go ahead and sit down; she'd bring us our check -- which she did. Much easier than having to wait; and very nice, too.

After having so much pork in the last few days, Lynn and I were definitely ready for some lighter fare. She opted for the chilled cantaloupe and buttermilk soup with paddlefish caviar, candied sourdough, ginger and anise hyssop -- fresh, bright, and flavorful -- while Ginny and I both had the salad of endives with crispy potatoes, basil, dijon, pancetta and poached egg (yeah, yeah, I know -- pancetta IS pork, but still . . . it was soooooo good!).

Ginny had the roasted farm chicken and blue prawns with quinoa, grilled snap peas and mish mish (?) -- sweet, succulent and surprisingly sumptuous. Lynn dove into the roast lobster with lobster and maitaki mushrooms (OMG). Meanwhile, although -- I admit -- I was momentarily tempted by the elk poached in duck fat (?!?!?!) . . . I sighed and instead ordered the wood-grilled sturgeon with chanterelles, kohlrabi, plums, thai poppy jam and brown butter-fish sauce -- oh so delicious! and the 2008 Vincent Dureuil-Janthial Puligny-Montrachet "Champs Gains" paired beautifully with all three entrées.

For dessert, Ginny had a selection of five cheeses -- Shadow Brook Farms "Chevre Frais," goat's milk (Lincoln, Nebraska) with bing cherries; Nettle Meadows "Kunik," goat's milk (Warrensburg, New York) with mustard genois; Green Dirt Farm "Bossa," sheep's milk (Kansas City, Missouri) with hazelnuts' Cobb Hill "Ascutney mountain" cheese, raw cow milk (Hartland, Vermont) with blueberries; and the "St. Agur" cow milk (Auvergne, France) with apricots -- paired with a half-glass of Pouilly-Fumé (for the goat cheese) and a half-glass of Côtes-du-Rhône (for the rest). Lynn had the frozen cucumber mousse with musk melon, peanut meringue and lime ice -- brilliant! -- while I chose the raspberry sorbet (so intense, so smooth, so flavorful, and still bright and fresh).

All in all, this was another wonderful meal in Chicago . . .

Avec Restaurant
615 W Randolph St Ste A, Chicago, IL 60661

Blackbird Restaurant
619 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60606

Girl and the Goat
809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

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